While Sabres fans wait for a change in ownership and what they hope will be a change in the direction of the franchise, Ottawa Senators fans are wondering why their owner hasn’t already started cleaning house. Eugene Melnyk might do just that but it wouldn’t happen until after the season. This past weekend, Melnyk told the Ottawa Sun the team will not be firing General Manager Bryan Murray or Head Coach Cory Clouston before the end of the season. Both men are in the final year of their contract.
Maybe this is a case of people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones but Ottawa is a mess. The Senators have the 4th worst record in the league and are on pace for 68 points which would be their lowest total since the 1995-96 season when they were 4 years removed from being an expansion team. Like the Sabres, barring a turnaround, they will miss the playoffs for the 3rd time in 4 years.
Its been a complete disaster for the Sens. Offensively, their 106 goals is lower than every team in the league except New Jersey. Even the offensively challenged Sabres have scored 28 more goals than Ottawa. Defensively, they have given up 157 scores, the 4th highest total in the NHL. Going into Tuesday’s game with the Sabres, Ottawa had dropped 5 straight and 11 of 12.
Back to the men in charge, for perhaps not much longer. Melnyk has said he has a plan for the franchise and it is already in motion. According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, that plan includes moving Murray into an advisory role and hiring a new G-M. There are rumors Ottawa will make veterans such as Chris Phillips, Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly and Jarkko Ruutu available at or before next month’s trade deadline but one wonders how much Murray will be doing if he is a lame duck manager who will be removed from that job in 2 ½ months.